Why Is Yoga Teacher Training So Expensive?

Yoga is a discipline with roots in ancient Indian philosophy. It has become popular in the west because of its physical and mental benefits. Whether you stumbled across a yoga teacher training advertisement while browsing social media or are actively looking to become a trainer, you may have been alarmed by the average cost of the certification.

Yoga teacher training is so expensive because of two broad reasons. In terms of value, you get the skills to set up a training business, understand yourself better, and improve your own practice. The company spends on hiring trainers, expert guests, marketing, and hosting in terms of cost.

In this article, you will learn more about both the value of training and the cost of doing business as a yoga teacher training establishment. You will also find out more about what you can do once you have finished your training. By the end of the piece, you’ll know whether you should attend training and, if so, how you should use it in your life.

Value of the Training

People often assume that price is tied only to the effort required to produce a product or deliver a service. That isn’t the primary factor in pricing a business proposition.

Let’s take an example of a hypothetical company that hires one million actors to do pushups for hours and films them. This video would easily cost ten million dollars or more to produce. Would you pay even one percent of that to get a copy of it? Of course not. The reason? You don’t find value in it.

The primary pricing factor in a service or a product is the value its target market derives. As a yoga teacher, you can start a training business, get close to celebrities, and have a fulfilling career centered around wellness and positivity.

In that context, the pricing of yoga teacher training is quite reasonable. A later section explores the scope of yoga teaching as a career. Below are some of the advantages you are paying for when you take premium yoga teacher training.

You Can Be a Part of an Organization

If you take high-level yoga teacher training, you get to be a part of an organization like the Yoga Alliance. Such memberships come with their own set of benefits. Yoga Alliance, which many yoga teachers get to be a part of, allows one access to exclusive events, membership discounts, a directory of members, and a like-minded community.

While alumni membership and organizational affinity are parts of the yoga teacher training perk package, you can also sign up for a community independently, albeit at an additional cost.

It Improves Personal Practice

Many students of yoga teacher training certifications enroll in the course only to deepen their own practice. By learning how to teach yoga, you simultaneously learn how to teach the art to yourself.

The benefits of yoga, including longevity in one’s active years, better physical health, and inner peace, are amplified by taking yoga teacher training. A significant number of people put a high value on these benefits and are willing to pay for the expensive privilege.

It Is a Unique Experience

Billions of dollars are spent on luxury and travel every year because people value experiences. Yoga teacher training is more than education. It is an experience, and many people have labeled it as one of a kind.

How much would you pay to experience something new that changes you permanently in a positive way while simultaneously opening career doors for you and arming you with new skills?

As mentioned elsewhere, the training is given in a place lush with greenery and far enough away from the mundane routine of daily life that you’re accessing adventure in its purest form. Simultaneously, you network and build life-long friendships with those on the same path as you.

It Improves Your People Skills

Another key benefit of yoga teacher training is the improvement in your people skills. You work with small groups for various activities, and the sessions aren’t given to massive crowds. This creates great bonds and also helps you learn how to manage people.

This skill is transferable, and as you return to your daily life, you can apply it directly in your business or at work. Some would suggest that this alone is worth the price tag as it gives people a shot at earning a raise.

You Can Possibly Start a Business

When you see yoga teacher training as a “class,” you may find it “expensive” because you’re comparing it to other classes. However, if you look at the result, the training is quite different. A degree in most fields equips you for a job but getting a yoga teaching certification gives you all you need to start your own business.

Not only can you make a living teaching yoga, but you can also expand your practice by hiring other teachers. When you see the training as an investment for a scalable business, you realize that it is, in fact, relatively cheap.

You Gain a Deeper Understanding of Self

While yoga teacher training is no replacement for therapy, many people find access to yogic theory quite cathartic. By understanding the philosophy behind the practice, you understand yourself better and connect well with your inner-being.

Since this is one of the finer aspects of life, it gets priced similar to fine arts or high-end consulting. The price tag might seem expensive in base terms, but the price is quite reasonable to those who appreciate the understanding and insights this brings.

It Stretches Your Physical Limits

Basketball superstar Lebron James spends over $1.5 million on his body every year. Some people are willing to pay the price if it means stretching their physical limits. Yoga teacher training enhances your asanas (poses).

Many students can notice a recognizable difference in how far they can stretch and how long they can hold certain poses. For certain people like athletes and gymnasts, this is worth tens of thousands of dollars, and the training price seems relatively low.

You Get Better at Managing Change

Nothing ever stays the same. Not even money remains the same as it loses its value to inflation. The only way to be secure and at peace is to know that you’re capable of handling changes. Most changes are unexpected, and you must develop problem-solving skills and expose yourself to changes in controlled conditions to get better.

Initially, you’ll not know many people, will have the faintest idea of what fills up the hundreds of hours of training, and will have to adapt to a different environment. This disruption of routine is not only a compelling adventure but also an excellent practice run for when things change in your life. You’ll be able to draw from this experience and manage changes more smoothly in your life.

Time Required

Novices may consider yoga as light stretching. That’s why the initial assumption regarding yoga teacher training would be that it will take around ten hours. That is not true. Yoga teacher training takes over a hundred hours, with standard programs hitting a 200-hour mark. This is not even considered ‘extensive’ as broader education programs include 500 hours of training.

This might seem daunting to someone with a surface-level interest in teaching yoga, but you should be happy about the level of effort required. That’s because it heightens the barrier to entry, making it so that only the most dedicated people can become yoga teachers.

Business Expenses

While the primary pricing method involves gauging the value delivered, a business must also take into account its operating expenses in its pricing strategy. Yoga teacher training businesses require significant capital to operate. Again, this is supposed to be good news as it indicates that the downward decline of most products’ pricing hasn’t yet reached the yoga industry.

Instructors are well-educated and well-paid. Since automation and undercutting cannot dictate pricing in the yoga industry, one must pay a premium to receive a quality education. To understand how the service gets priced as high as it does, you should look at how yoga teacher training businesses invest money.

Hiring Quality Trainers With Significant Experience

Upward mobility is something humans desire in career and socio-economic conditions. To make a business stable, one has to pay its employees in accordance with their years in business. Since teaching is a profession where experts are preferred over novices, most yoga teacher training businesses hire experts with at least a decade of experience.

You can become a teacher and conduct yoga classes, but to be qualified to teach how one can educate others in the discipline, you need significant experience. By the time you’re there, you will not settle for a small paycheck because you can make decent money teaching yoga working fewer hours.

When you’re committed to hundreds of hours of training at an elite level, you demand a premium, and as a student of YTT, you must pay that premium.

Paying Guest Trainers

Becoming a yoga teacher involves more than learning the poses you can teach others about. You must understand different aspects of yoga, including its history, benefits of each pose, and how to market yourself. This allows you to start your business, create bespoke routines to match your VIP clients’ needs, and be successful as a yoga teacher in general.

One trainer cannot possibly provide in-depth training in all these areas. Therefore, yoga teacher training businesses bring in experts with specialized knowledge of anatomy, marketing, client servicing, etc. These instructors don’t come in cheap. This results in a further increase in yoga teacher training price.

Marketing Expenses

You may have come across yoga teacher training on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. Regardless of where the idea came to you from, chances are, a yoga teacher training business’s marketing had a role to play.

From running advertisements to building a brand worthy of organic word-of-mouth marketing, these businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars propagating their message. As a result, the price of their service increases to justify the marketing investment.

Retreat Logistics and Travel Expenses

Most yoga teacher training occurs in person because it is sensitive and requires students to be physically involved. You cannot watch your way into yoga teaching mastery. One has to understand the limits of the human body and how to push the boundaries safely. No business wants to be liable for incorrect training, and so, classes are held in person.

Whether this happens in a yoga studio, in your neighborhood, or a retreat in the East, there are overhead and upkeep costs to be considered.

Aside from the rent and the electricity costs, the place requires regular cleaning as yoga is physical. If the retreat is remote, the business might need to acquire additional licensing. If labeled a retreat or a tourist activity, the company may have certain taxes to pay as well.

While most retreats don’t include travel expenses in their standard pricing, they have to fly the instructors (especially the expert guests). Needless to say, this adds to the cost of doing business.

Risk of Doing Business

While the above break down shows the money businesses invest in yoga teacher training, it fails to account for the risk businesses take. In a job, you get paid in relative proportion to the effort you put in or the value you bring to the company, but in business, you also get paid in proportion to the risk you take.

Let’s suppose if a business invested $200,000 in setting up a yoga teacher training program and marketing it, what do you assume would be its profit target? Many people would believe the business would want a few thousand dollars over $200,000 in gross sales.

That is not the case because the owners have to think long term. Since the costs listed above could have resulted in a $0 return, the investors need to make enough profit to justify the initial investment and keep the business afloat. Because of that, yoga teacher training is significantly marked up beyond the cost of doing business.

What Are the Benefits of Being a Yoga Teacher?

If you’re paying a premium to take yoga teacher training, you may want to know the benefits of becoming a yoga trainer. This section explores life after your yoga teacher training, starting with the advantages you have.

High Barrier to Entry

People flock towards “get rich quick” schemes because the barrier to entry is low. Any easily attainable skill doesn’t sustain its value long term as the market is flooded with competitors.

For a long time, people have believed that one gets paid in proportion to the effort he puts into his work. That is no longer true; one is paid in proportion to the price one’s competitors are willing to work for.

Yoga teaching is relatively secure because of the high price tag for the education required to start the practice. People who flood the market and charge the lowest price aren’t the kind to spend $3,000 on training and invest hundreds of hours mastering the craft.

Those who go through with their training respect their craft enough to keep their prices high. As a result, yoga teaching is a high-paid skill that remains in demand in certain circles.

Quality Network

Yoga teaching is lucrative because of the prices you can charge and the kind of people you can associate with. Your average penny-pinching joe will not be the target market. The people who pay to learn yoga belong to admirable circles and can connect you with more opportunities.

Here are some of the people you might meet as a yoga teacher:

  • Athletes: Star players are continually looking for ways to improve their in-arena performance. Depending on your area, you can expect to work with athletes and their coaches to create customized yoga regimens for star players.
  • Actors: If you live in Hollywood or in an area close to where actors reside (or regularly shoot), you can meet many celebrities as a yoga teacher. Sometimes, directors and consultants will find yoga trainers for their cast just to improve their flexibility for a scene. Most often, you’ll meet actors through stunt doubles. Almost all athletic stunt doubles practice yoga regularly and will likely make up most of your class.
  • C-suite executives: Finally, you’ll meet health-conscious high net-worth individuals who want to retain their physicality despite living a sedentary lifestyle.

As you will meet people for whom money isn’t the deciding factor in whether they take your class or not, you’ll start to gain financial independence while educating people in a discipline you’re passionate about.

An Active Lifestyle

Another essential advantage of being a yoga teacher is that your job requires you to stay fit. This is important because most American obesity coincides with workplace inactivity. While the average office job keeps people fixed in their seats and stressed about their work, yoga teaching keeps you active and at peace with yourself. This seems like a great trade-off.

What Are the Drawbacks of Being a Yoga Teacher?

While being a yoga teacher is quite rewarding, you must be aware of certain drawbacks of the profession. Below, we explore the main disadvantages of being a yoga teacher.

Being Routine-Bound

While there’s a sense of adventure in taking a yoga teacher training retreat, a yoga teacher’s life can be routine-bound. By teaching the same class over and over at the same location, you might end up just going through the motion. This is a possibility but isn’t inevitable.

In other words, you can take certain precautions to keep your yoga-teaching practice from becoming dull.

  • Change venues. Learn from yoga teacher training retreats and make your yoga classes more experiential. If your target market allows, you can combine domestic tourism with yoga. One doesn’t need to hop on a plane to go for an adventure. You can always hike with your students to various locations and practice yoga.
  • Exchange sessions with other teachers. When you take the training, you’ll have networking opportunities. Many of your peers will have their own yoga teaching businesses as well. You can arrange a trip to their studio if they live far enough. If they are nearby, you can substitute each other and train different students. It is crucial that you trust the people you swap classes with as you don’t want your clients poached.

Hard To Get Started

While the kind of clients yoga teachers get is an advantage, getting to them in the first place is quite challenging, and that is a disadvantage. From actors to C-suite executives, valuable clients are hard to reach. Once you provide them with high-quality training, however, the story flips.

High-level clients recommend and refer with an open heart. However, if you give in to the temptation of teaching an evening class to clients who nickel and dime you, you might permanently brand your business as a mass-appeal service, something others may not want to pay a premium for.

High-Risk (Initially)

Since yoga teacher training is indeed expensive, and one takes quite a risk switching away from a secure career to start a yoga teaching business, you expose yourself to financial troubles by deciding without a strategy. You must initiate your yoga teaching practice as a side-job, so you don’t pressure yourself too much and let the word spread more organically.

What Paths Can You Take After Going Through Yoga Teacher Training?

You don’t need to become a yoga teacher after taking your training at a retreat. That’s why we have a section dedicated to the options available to you once you come out on the other end of this adventure.

Return to Life With a Fresh Perspective

As mentioned in this article’s value section, you’ll learn teamwork, have a better understanding of yogic philosophy, and make new friends. For most people, this is enough, and they return to their lives with better problem-solving skills and a renewed ability to work with people. This can boost your career, improve your mental health, and increase your satisfaction with life.

Start a General Yoga Training Business

This is the easiest type of yoga-teaching income one can generate as it is relatively easier to break into. The investment required (aside from the yoga teacher training cost) is minimal as you only need to rent a studio to start your practice. Many studios in metropolitan regions can be rented by the hour, making it easier for you to start yoga teaching as a side-business.

Join a Yoga Training Business

Another way to make a secure income as a yoga teacher training graduate is to join a business full-time. This has the obvious benefit of a consistent paycheck and comes with the drawback of working for an employer.

You’ll have defined timings and key performance indicators, but if teaching is your passion and you don’t want to get involved with entrepreneurship, this is the safer route.

Start a Bespoke Coaching Practice

Bespoke yoga coaching is yoga training with a more attentive approach. Instead of hosting yoga classes for a group in a studio, you go to VIP clients and train them in the comfort of their own homes. This is relatively difficult to break into but is equally rewarding in the long run.

Should You Take Yoga Teacher Training?

While the advantages, disadvantages, and possible career paths can help you decide whether yoga teacher training is for you or not, you can gauge its value to you by looking at people who usually take the training. In this section, we’ll cover the situations in which people opt for such retreats.

Looking for a Break From Routine

Housewives, college students taking a gap year, and retired seniors may seem demographically wide apart yet get attracted to yoga teacher training and yoga retreats for the same reason: to take a break from routine. Ask yourself if you’re thoroughly engaged in your daily life. If you’re not, then you should get the training.

Confused About Career or Life

Fresh graduates and people switching careers often take such training to broaden their horizons. Besides, the possibility of training others is lucrative from income and financial freedom angles.

Individuals who have recently moved away from home can easily network on such retreats and then use yoga training as a way to integrate themselves into their new neighborhood. Those who deliver this training live a lifestyle of freedom and can also give valuable advice on the matter.

Can’t Access Good Yoga Teachers

This is one of the most influential factors: people take yoga teacher training because they aren’t satisfied with the teachers in their area. Some areas don’t even have yoga instructors. By taking the training, these students can at least instruct themselves and execute the right routines.

Recently Broken Up

Finally, yoga is a great networking tool, and people who go through a breakup take it up to connect with like-minded fitness enthusiasts. Yoga teacher training takes that a step further as it includes travel and obligates networking. More importantly, it connects you with your inner-self, which is quite important after a breakup.

Final Thoughts

Yoga teacher training is for people who appreciate yoga’s finer aspect and can see the immense opportunities it provides with an open mind. It is a cross between leisure and education and is ideal for disrupting a mundane lifestyle while expanding your network.

Sources

Sita

Mother of three and Yogi of 20+ years and 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. I am also a Certified Thai massage therapist and I have taught Gymnastics for more than 10 years. In the last couple of years, I've been a big promotor of intermittent fasting.

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